Help a Reader Out: Potty Training at Night



Stephanie said…


My daughter is now a little over 3 1/2 and has been potty trained during the day since last summer. We officially did away with the diaper at night this past January. She would then wake often at night crying needing to go potty, and I would take her and she’d go back to sleep. This would happen several times a night. She has only wet the bed 2 times since taking away the diaper. I expected her to wake a lot the first couple of weeks while getting used to not having a diaper, but like I said, that was back in January when we started and it’s now 8 months later and she is still waking several times a night to go potty. There have been some nights in between there where she’s slept all night or only gotten up 1 time (which is such a treat that it’s just as good as all night!). But most of the time it’s anywhere from 2-5 times a night she’s going. And of course I cut her off of liquids at least an hour to an hour and a half before bed, but it doesn’t seem to matter because there have been some nights that she has had something to drink right before bed and I thought for sure she was going to be up a lot and then doesn’t wake up at all! I’m not sure what’s happening first–either she’s not sleeping good and even the slightest feeling of having to pee is causing her to get up and go OR she really does have to go and that’s what’s waking her. I also found out I was pregnant in January and I was nervous about having 2 kids getting up all night, but everyone assured me that this would certainly go away by the time the baby comes. I’m now a little over a week away from having this baby, and it’s not ANY better! And it is incredibly exhausting having to get up that many times a night now with being pregnant. But after the baby comes, once one falls asleep, the other is going to wake up–I’m nervous about how that’s going to leave my sanity! 🙂 So anyway, I was just wondering if you’ve experienced this with your kids at all or have heard of other kids. Everyone I talk to who has kids the same age all say their kid doesn’t ever wake up once they’re asleep. Thanks so much for any help or advice you can give!!!September 8, 2011 10:36 AM


Plowmanators said…


Stephanie, I haven’t experienced that at all. I know some moms take their child to potty right before they go to bed–it is like a “dream pee.”

I would wonder if it is some sort of habit. If she still is waking up and you have a new baby, I would honestly put her in a diaper for nights again. If you are getting up all night long between two children, you are going to be unable to function.

If you would like, I can post this as a “help a reader out’ question to see if there are some good ideas and experience out there.

September 25, 2011 10:37 PM


Stephanie said…


Sure! I’ll take any ideas! Thanks!September 30, 2011 1:49 AM


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7 thoughts on “Help a Reader Out: Potty Training at Night”

  1. Wow! I am so sorry Stephanie! I really have been blessed that my 2 girls sleep through the night so well. My oldest is 3.5 years, and she was day potty trained at 2.75 years, then at 3, we tried without the night diaper, she wet the bed about 2-3 times a week for 2 weeks and I decided to put the diaper back on at night. We tried again in a couple months, and she had an accident at night , but wer were doing VBS, leaving EARLY in the morning, and I wasn't going to wash beds. 🙂 So, then about 2 months ago, we decided to try again, and she has been dry for 2+ months at night, never wakes up. Even though I've told her she can call for me if she needs to go. But she doesn't even wake up when she throws up at night, so she is a really heavy sleeper. I would try putting her back in diapers, if she'll go in them. If not, maybe she'll use a little potty in her room and a night light. At least then you wouldn't have to get up. She may just be nervous and waking out of habit.

  2. My daughter is 3 yrs 2 months and still does a pull up at night even though she is completely potty trained during the day. I would go back to diapers, too, until she starts waking up dry on her own for 2 weeks. I had a girlfriend who had a daughter who would still wear diapers at night through her 4th birthday. Eventually her daughter was really embarrassed about it but her mom told her she wasn't allowed to wear regular underwear until she woke up dry for 2 weeks. Sure enough, around her 5th birthday, she started staying dry! Some people say it's a brain thing-that some kids just aren't capable of going all night without peeing.

  3. Hi Stephanie, I have 3 girls,just turned 4, almost 2, and 12 weeks. My oldest was potty trained very eary during the daytime – around 21 months. We stopped her in diapers at night around 2 3/4. We had lots of trouble w/ nighttime potty trips over the next year or so. A lot of this was due to ear/tonsil/sinus issues. She wasn't sleeping soundly in the first place because she was in pain from illness (ear infections/tonsillitis/etc). She would wake from pain and then not be able to go back to sleep until after we took her potty just because she had to go a little bit. After she had her medical issues resolved (ear tubes, tonsillectomy/adenoid removed), things got much better. But, she is still a very light sleeper and hence needs to go during the night regularly. Here are the things I would suggest:- Like Valerie mentioned, take her potty before you go to bed. We have done this with Sadie Beth for years and it has really helped.- This requires a bit more training and requiring independence of your little one, but another thing you could do is teach her to get up and go on her own. We set up a little potty chair in her room (placed on a large bath towel in case of mishaps). We did this because the bathroom was right next to middle sister's room and she was waking her up on midnight potty trips. If you put a nightlight in her room you could teach her to get out of bed, go potty and get back in bed without waking you up. I know it might sound like you are requiring too much but with another little one on the way you are going to need your rest! You could reward her for doing this independently – let her work towards earning some other "big girl" privilege that she wants to do. – Another idea would be to talk with her about how she doesn't need to go potty every time she wakes up. Praise her for what a good job she is doing staying dry and try to evaluate whether she has anxiety around wetting the bed. If so, reassure her that if she really needs to go, then of course she should, but not to worry about having accidents.- Finally, before taking any disciplinary steps with this (which might be necessary down the road if it seems like this is an attention-seeking behavior…it DEFINITELY was with my daughter at times – it became a "boy I know it's the middle of the night but I would love to visit with Mommy for a few minutes, I should go potty!" sort of thing), I would have her looked at by a doctor to make sure nothing else could be contributing to the doctor, whether related to urinary tract health or other medical issues that could be causing difficulty sleeping. I know my ideas are kindof scattered but I hope my experiences can help…i can definitely relate. Sadie Beth was sleeping so poorly when I was pregnant with my second daughter that I would wake up in the middle of the night and cry uncontrollably from tiredness and anxiety over how I would handle my poorly sleeping (and very sick!) toddler with a new baby. Hang in there…Blair

  4. Please ignore the goofy name at the top of my comment! The only blog I have had with this google account was one that I was using to try and sell our cars on craigslist with! I tried to change it but not sure if it worked Thanks, Blair

  5. This sounds so similar to how nighttime potty training went with our son!Last November, we went on a vacation where my son was sleeping in the same room as us and waking several times a night. Each time he woke, we walked him to the potty, back to bed, tucked him in silently, and went back to bed ourselves.Once we got home, that kind of became our routine. Whenever I would hear him wake in the night, I would take him, but not talk to him (except maybe to say "go back to sleep" when I tucked him back in). Sometimes we went 2-3 times a night, but usually just 1-2. For, like, 6 months.Then one day, (soon after having our newborn daughter) we discussed briefly with him that, when you wake in the night, you go potty and then go back to bed. We didn't say anything about going by himself… yet.Then at night, I began to hang back a little. I'd still get him out of bed when I heard him wake, but I'd just walk to the bathroom door. Usually he just took it from there. If he needed my help, I'd step in. (Thank goodness for little boys – peeing standing up in the night is such a blessing!)Then he started to say he wanted to do it himself. During the day, we again discussed the idea that when he wakes in the night, he could go potty and back to bed – but this time, by himself. At night, when I heard him wake, I'd wait a minute. He began to get himself out of bed and go, and go back to bed. Sometimes I would stand in our doorway to watch and make sure all went well. If he tried to interact with me, I just took him through the motions and back to bed without talking.Then, I started to just keep an eye from our bed. And of course, now we're at the point that I only know he went in the night because I see it the next morning. (I don't have him flush at night – too noisy!) :)Overall, it took around 9 months. There were a few struggles along the way (mostly with messing around at bedtime with coming out of his room), but overall it was pretty smooth. To be honest, I didn't really know how else to do it. It just seemed natural that, when you wake in the night, you go potty and go back to bed.Frankly I just felt blessed that he wakes up on his own! So many friends have kids that don't wake at all and I think that's a much bigger struggle.If a kid is waking on their own, I wouldn't put them in diapers – then they'll feel conflicted – I pee in the potty and not my underpants all day, but then pee in my diaper at night? And anyway, it's kind of a step backwards.It does mean extra waking for you, but so does changing a wet bed. And since you're starting at 3.5, not 2.5 as we did, it might go faster.Now my son doesn't need me at all to go potty at night. Yes, he wakes up 1-3 times to go. I don't let it stress me that he's not getting enough sleep or something – what am I going to do about that, anyway? I put him down for naps if he needs the extra sleep, or early to bed, and otherwise, I'm just glad he wakes to go at night!Best of luck to you! It's never fun to have extra night waking for yourself!!

  6. Oh man, this is EXACTLY what I am going through right now! I'm so glad I am not the only one. It has gotten so bad it almost makes me regret potty training!My daughter is just a little over two, but was totally ready to be potty trained. I put a diaper on her for naps and nighttime, but she won't go in them. Her naps have been cut short (from 3 hours to 2 hours) and her nighttime sleep is totally a mess. She wakes anywhere from 9pm-12am (her bedtime is 7pm) and has been waking up from 5am to 6:30am (She previously would sleep until 8am or 13 hours). It is so hard because she is such a classic babywise baby and all of a sudden is a mess with her sleep. I'm not sure if eventually her body will grow out of it or what. I'm so thankful this post was here today because I have felt like such a failure lately. You're not alone!Ashley

  7. I would also recommend going back to a pull up at night until she stays dry for 2 weeks. Also, I think it is key to give her the independence of going on her own like Katie said. Thanks to Babywise, no matter what we told our son, he would not get out of bed without our permission so each time he had to potty, he would call out for us. At first it was 3-5 times a night also. I then realized that on days that he napped too long we opened his door to help him wake up without startling him and he would get out of bed and run out of his room on his own. It's like he saw his open door as our permission to get out of bed. So we let him do a "dream pee" as Stephanie called it, put a night light in our guest bathroom and told him after he went to sleep we would open his door. If he woke up and needed to go potty, he was to go right back to bed and no where else. It worked great! For about a week he would call us from the bathroom to help him pull his pants back up, but then he was doing it all on his own and going back to bed. Hope you find a solution that works for your family. Congratulations on the joy of the new baby coming soon!


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